Many mentions are made in the New Testament about trees and their fruit. It’s a very effective way to illustrate for people in simple terms the complexities of spiritual life. Here’s Jesus breaking it down a bit.
Luke 6:43-44 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes.
Even though I have no clue what figs are, I still love these tree examples that Jesus uses because they work for my brain. I immediately understand what he’s saying here. I may claim to be a Christian, but if my life is nothing but sin and anger, then I’m not displaying the fruit of what I claim to be. Maybe I’m not a fig tree after all.
Okay, so I’m talking a lot about trees, but today I’m not even going to be focusing on trees. It’s what Jesus said immediately after his tree example that really spoke to me.
Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
I don’t even know if I can effectively explain why, but I love this verse so much. Let’s first look at the really challenging final sentence of the verse. “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” This is one of those conveniently overlooked truths in the Bible. I know some people that say some rough things, and while we like to excuse it to “just joking” or “just messing around”, the fact is that Jesus says differently. What we say flows from what is in our hearts, and here’s Jesus giving this incredibly cool illustration of what our hearts are. The treasury of the heart, I love the picture that paints.
As I first studied this, I began picturing a treasury, which is basically just someplace where valuables and riches are stored. So I started picturing this massive vault in the center of each human being. Our treasuries of the heart. Jesus talked about how we’ll either produce, or bring forth, good things from a good heart, or we’ll bring forth bad things from a bad heart. As I was going through all of this, a question settled upon me. How did these things get into the treasury in the first place? After all, vaults aren’t built filled with treasure already inside, they are built empty, and they are later filled with things. So if Jesus is putting a good or bad judgment on what we bring forth out of our hearts, it only leaves one candidate for who’s putting this stuff in there in the first place, and it’s us.
You ever hear the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? My mom told me that once when I was trying to convince her to buy me a Megadeth CD. I hated that phrase, I thought it was so stupid. It felt like an empty “parenting” phrase, much like the equally as hated “because I said so”. As with most things that come from good parents, I eventually learned that what I thought was so stupid was in fact Godly wisdom being brought into my life by my parents. If you fill yourself with trash, you will have only trash to produce.
For a long time, I had no filter on what I’d let into my life. I wanted my entertainment, my way, and I was going to get it no matter what. Even as I began walking more closely with God, when it came time to watch TV, I had zero hesitation to turn on whatever HBO or similar series I wanted despite the fact that they often contained gratuitous sex and nudity, an abundance of foul and perverse language, and gore, blood, and realistic violence. My reasoning? I’m not going around getting involved in sexual encounters, I’m not cussing all the time, and I’m not out hurting people, so if it’s not affecting me then why does it matter what I watch?
As much of a “nerd” or a “square” as it might make me in the eyes of modern society, I’ve come to believe that stuff does affect us. If anything, it fills us with images, words, thoughts, and concepts that don’t honor God. And I want to be a person who honors God in all things. The fact is, we live in the golden age of entertainment. There are thousands upon thousands of quality shows at our fingertips. Why then, do I HAVE TO watch the ones that are full of bad stuff? The truth is, I don’t. I’ll take it one step further and say that the truth is, I shouldn’t.
Listen to what David says in Psalm 101.
Psalm 101:2-5 I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. 3 I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. 4 I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. 5 I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride.
David took a stand for holy living. Was he perfect? Obviously not. None of us are. I’m not turning into some sort of a monk who lives on a mountainside and considers watching the clouds roll by to be my daily entertainment. I love action movies, I love intrigue and mystery and the struggle between good and evil, the complexities of human nature. But more than that, I love the idea of the treasury of my heart being a holy place. When God inspects it, I don’t want the holy to be mixed with the tainted. I don’t want my beautiful impressions of Jesus to be stored next to the way too graphic love scene that the latest hit cable show featured in the episode I watched last night.
We are responsible for what we let into our lives. Just as a steady diet of fast food leads to health issues and obesity, a steady diet of garbage entertainment can have ill effects on our mind and our spirit. My goal is to get to a place where I don’t care enough about any show/book/game/movie to allow something perverse or inappropriate to take up residence beside Jesus in my mind and my heart. Even as I’m writing this, I’m feeling convicted over a series I watched recently that had some extremely inappropriate things in it.
This is a decision that every believer has to make for themselves. I will ask that you take a hard look at what you’re allowing into your life. What imagery are you allowing into your mind, what concepts or images are taking up residence inside of you alongside Jesus? And are you okay with that? Be brave enough to ask yourself those questions, and be brave enough to be made fun of or dismissed. David didn’t care what others thought, he cared about carrying himself in a pure manner that honored God. Why should we care about anything more than that?
I love you guys. It’s tough when God challenges us on some of our deeply held beliefs and that’s definitely been the case with me and the entertainment I indulge in. But just like with everything else, He’ll never take something away without replacing it with something better. I hope you all have a blessed day, I’ll see you again on Thursday!
If you have any prayer requests or would just like to talk my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and it would be my pleasure to hear from you!